Dave Hill: Nigel Farage hates all that is best about Britain – London most of all

Dave Hill: Nigel Farage hates all that is best about Britain – London most of all

Here he comes on his way to House of Commons with his foghorn gob and his bossy-arse parade ground strut. Yes, it’s wannabe Brigadier Nigel Farage, all mouth and tax policies no abacus in Albion can make add up, boasting to the pensioners of Clacton-on-Sea and anyone else unwise enough to listen to his claptrap that if only he was in charge, with his “common sense” and his Union Jack jockstrap hoisted up really high, fings would be like wot they used to be, back when all the apples were Cox’s orange pippins, the national anthem was played at the end of films and a threepenny bit would buy a whole bag of humbugs.

Behold, the ex-public schoolboy and City broker who reckons he’s the leader of a “people’s army” and speaks for the Common Man – a “patriot”, no less, here to deliver us from, well, everything he doesn’t like about a country that, for centuries, has made the big mistake of giving posh boys like him inside tracks they haven’t earned, only to see them do everything they can to appropriate or denigrate everything Britain has ever done right or well.

Who exactly does this loudmouth think he is, claiming to speak for the “ordinary, decent people” of the nation, when his idea of how to run it would be to make the richest a lot richer and in the process starve the poorest of the help they need to keep body and soul together and the wolf from the door? The answer, of course, is that Farage thinks he is a man of destiny, a saviour and redeemer, God’s gift. But the truth is that he’s found a crafty way to big himself up by doing down the country he claims he loves.

There is no plainer proof of this than the delight he takes in denigrating London. For Farage, the capital city of the nation he aspires to leading – well, he says he does, though I doubt the braggart has much appetite for serious responsibility, let alone exposure to reality – is not the indispensable driving force of the UK economy, not the global jewel in the UK’s crown that attracts talent and investment from around the world, not the glorious 2012 Olympics “world in one city”, but an offence against what he thinks is the natural order of British things – a fantasy rooted in a 1950s primary school understand of history sold as fact with cunning prejudice.

His loathing of London, his affronted disdain for what he thinks London is, betrays him as not only a dangerous dreamer bent on marching Britain back to a phoney lost golden past, but also a low opportunist, peddling falsehoods for cheap rounds of applause.

Earlier this week, the reliably rubbish Sun newspaper found a mouthy cabbie to back up its pre-written “story” that Sadiq Khan has “banned” London taxi drivers from flying England flags during the Euros.

The “story” was completely false: Transport for London, which regulates black cabs – not the Mayor – has, for many years issued guidelines against flags of any kind being flown from those vehicles, maintaining rules that have applied for decades.

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Yet Farage, not one to miss the chance to stir up a culture war no matter how bogus the premise, reacted to the Sun’s trash by pronouncing: “Khan really hates England.”

Back in 2010, Boris Johnson, the last Rule Britannia conman to leech off the British public, made a typical song and dance about TfL saying they would relax the rule during the World Cup of that year. Maybe Khan, a big football fan, would have encouraged TfL to do the same in 2024 had he been asked.

But, of course, Farage has closed down that option by exploiting the issue to kick off a divisive hate-fest, prompting streams of racist abuse from social media trolls and seemingly not caring less. Well, they are his people, after all. His gang of grovellers on GB News and the rest have followed his lead, recycling the same piece of sophistry as ammunition in their endless war on “Sadiq Khan’s London”, a London that has elected him as its political leader three times in a row.

Assuming Farage wins his seat next week, the expected Labour national government, led by Londoner Keir Starmer, should take a dual track approach to this worthless parasite.

One track should be to recognise and address the genuine anxieties about a fast-changing world that leads some Britons, including a small minority of Londoners, to believe, or at least hope, that Farage and his mob might do something to ease their fears – the same mistake they made when backing Brexit.

The other track should be to rip the piss out of “Nigel” at every opportunity. On no account should they pathetically appease him, as the Tories have done for ten years (and see where that’s got them, and the rest of us). But neither should they get too riled by him, because he dines out on the idea that he causes metropolitan liberals offence.

A better approach would be to mock him, torment him and very gently expose him as the poseur and performing flea he is: a man with no answers to any of the problems Britain faces; a man who expects the sound of his own voice to fill the void where substance ought to be; and, perhaps now and again, as a man whose sour and bitter attitude Britain is put to shame by the optimism and pride of the British capital’s Mayor.

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